• Home
  • About
  • Guest Post

    That old-time religion

    And what would Christmas in 2004 be without a million and one attempts to bend it in pretzels to suit current ideological wish-lists? Larry King decided that the best panel to discuss the profundities of Christ’s legend and legacy included Deepak Chopra. I regard the fact that he and his studio weren’t zapped into ash on the spot as final proof that there is no God.

    Later, Atsushi and I watched part of another vile CNN special called The Two Marys. (Don’t bother with the jokes about how well audience and subject matter suited each other–way, way too easy.) This was narrated by theological eminence Sigourney Weaver, and it included a lot of talk about how Mary the mother of Christ and Mary Magdalene could have had roles in the early church that were much more official than the Old Boy Network currently dominating Christianity lets on. Oh, yeah, and in case no one’s told you, Christ was gay.

    Now, obviously, as an atheist and believer in the disinterested pursuit of historical truth, I have no objection to the good-faith efforts by skeptics to do what they must with any genuine scholarly lead. Sometimes new knowledge, or improved theories that fit the evidence better than the previous ones did, will indeed prove disillusioning. When that happens, we have to be strong-minded enough to abandon our old beliefs.

    I do find it worth noting, though, that those who cast Mary Magdalene as the lost first disciple always seem to be feminists by conviction. Those who say Jesus had one or a string of queer relationships (always the icky-sensitivo kind, too–as long as we’re embroidering history, couldn’t we put those rough-tough carpenter muscles to better use? I’m just asking) turn out to be–ta-dah!–gay advocates. And in presenting their findings in soundbites of the form, “I’ve discovered X, and therefore Christian sects will have to stop mistreating group Y, ” these researchers don’t seem to make much effort to hide that ideology is driving their efforts.

    None of this is a new problem, no; and the point could be made that it’s none of my affair. You could come up with demonstrable proof that Jesus was a real historical character who had more sex partners than a Falcon Video actor, and it wouldn’t change my life one bit. Nevertheless, religion used to show people how to take the good with the bad and to do their best with the proportion of the two that circumstances had dealt them. Now a lot of it makes the chirpy pretense that it’s all good. Something is lost for all of us when people push the line that reality has to be altered to show us in the most approving light before we can live meaningful lives.

    2 Responses to “That old-time religion”

    1. Rhianna says:

      Interesting posts, I’ll be checking back regularly. Now, on with the show…
      I think Mary and Mary both had larger roles than they’re now said to have had. The few I’ve met that outright say I’m lying are also against lay women in the pulpit, female ministers, and women having a greater role in the church. As an atheist, surely you can see anyone with any ideas on religion obviously put forth their own prejudice to support their view of religion, even when Messiah is conserned.
      I’d never heard He was gay! Mind you, the few gays I know or are related to aren’t members of GLAD or any other group, just as I’m not a member of any feminist group around.
      Religion has butchered the great good in believing Messiah has come. Religion is nothing more than a bunch of rules made up after Christ’s death, by disciples pushing their own agendas…hence we have Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Southern Baptist, Mormon, ……etc, etc, etc. They all have spun the Bible to project what they want, when they want. They exclude anything they don’t like or don’t agree with, and suppress those members that support it. It is nothing more than a power game for corrupt individuals at the top of any church.
      Basically, I guess it all boils down to one guy hating another guy for some reason, and trying to twist the Bible into a providing a reason.

    2. Sean Kinsell says:

      Thanks for your comment, Rhianna. I’ve read your blog before and like it. On this particular topic…well, the church I grew up in made both Marys out to be major figures. They were referred to often in sermons, but not as apostles or leaders of men in the conventional sense.
      As for me as an individual, you’ll get no argument against the idea that women of diva potential should be allowed to exercise it at whatever wattage they wish. If women want to maintain that they’re capable of leading congregations, great. If they’re going to claim that this is supported by the historical and archaeological evidence, they have to present arguments that are persuasive even to those who don’t instinctively sympathize with them. People who are going to be Christian and believe that the Bible is the revealed word of God have to accept that it’s going to say things they may not like. That was the major thing I was saying.